Homemade Potato Chips

Potato Chips

This possibly falls under the category of a dangerous recipe because homemade potato chips are super delicious and you’ll want to make them all the time.  All. The. Time.

Potato Chips are one snack (well, one of many) that we have trouble finding around here.  Unless you’re ready to settle for Seaweed or Barbecue Beef flavor all the time.  Neither are terrible, but sometimes you just want plain ol’ potato chips, ya know?

Homemade Potato Chips

Ingredients:

Potatoes (as many as you want)
Oil, for frying
Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Scrub potatoes and then slice very thin.  I use the thinnest setting on my slicer/shredder attachment for my Bosch.
  2. Rinse potatoes slices until water runs clear (this helps remove some of the starch, very important!  Don’t skip this step)
  3. Lay out slices in a single layer on a tea towel and pat dry (also important, don’t skip!)
  4. While potatoes are drying, heat oil to between 350-375 F.
  5. Once oil is hot, drop potato slice a handful at a time into oil and allow to cook until golden brown (2-3 minutes).  Remove to cooling rack and salt immediately.  Repeat until all potatoes are cooked!

If you actually have leftover chips, do not store in plastic bag or container as they tend to take on the flavor of plastic.  I just put some cling wrap over my glass bowl and we ate them over the next few days.

Homemade Smashburgers

Smahsburger

If you ask pretty much any missionary in southeast Asia what food they miss from home, I can almost guarantee that a good burger makes the list.  It definitely makes my list.  And I’ve been on the quest for the best homemade burger from the day we first stepped off the plane.  Finding the perfect bun recipe along with the perfect burger recipe to go with it has made for a lot of experimenting.

Recently, I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Hamburger buns and after many less than perfect white hamburger buns, I was willing to give it a try.  Sounds strange maybe, but the pumpkin adds just the right amount of moisture to make this a delicious, moist bun (and you don’t even taste the pumpkin)!

Pumpkin Buns

Makes 8 buns
  • 1/3 cup 1 tbsp milk, plus more as needed
  • 1(1/4 oz) packet active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar or light brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  1. Use a saucepan or the microwave to warm 1/3 cup milk to 100º F, or about body temperature. (I like the baby-bottle test: put a couple drops of milk on the inside of your wrist, and if you can’t feel it, it’s the right temp.) Stir the yeast and sugar into the warm milk, and let stand for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly and foamy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add butter, 1 egg, pumpkin puree, and yeast mixture, and stir until the flour is combined. The dough should be slightly sticky, but not cling to your fingers. If it feels too wet, add a bit of all-purpose flour; if it feels too dry, add a splash of milk.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding just enough flour to keep it from sticking to the board. Stop kneading when the dough is soft, supple, and slightly tacky; if you poke it with your finger, it should spring back. (You can also knead the dough for 6-8 minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.)
  4. Grease or butter a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, and toss to coat evenly with the oil or butter. Cover the bowl loosely with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size. While the dough rises, lightly grease a baking sheet.
  5. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and press out any excess air. Divide the dough into 8 even pieces. Working one at a time, roll each piece of dough into a ball, then gently press it into a disc about 1/2 inch thick. Lay the discs of dough out onto the greased baking sheet. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. (The buns should now be slightly touching each other.)
  6. Preheat the oven to 375º F, and position a rack in the middle. In a small bowl, beat together 1 egg and 1 tbsp milk to make an egg wash. Lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash, being careful not to deflate the dough. Sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds onto the center of each bun, and gently pat them down to make sure they’ve stuck to the egg wash. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the buns are golden on top and firm to the touch.
  7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Let the buns cool completely, then gently pull them apart. Slice in half lengthwise, and serve with whatever fillings you like.
  8. To store leftover buns, leave them whole (unsliced). Store in a plastic bag at room temperature for up to 4 days. For longer-term storage, wrap individual buns in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 3 months.

The restaurant, Smashburger, became a “thing” since we’ve been living overseas, so truth be told, I have only eaten there once or twice.  So, I believe these burgers are a pretty close approximation, but I’m no expert.  Either way, they are delicious.

On the Grill

12 oz room-temperature ground beef (high quality beef would obviously make a better burger, but we’re not too picky around here)
salt, to taste

Seriously, that’s it!

  1. Heat flat top grill until 600-650 degrees F.  I use my stove top cast iron griddle.  Heat is important in this whole deal, so make sure it’s good and hot!
  2. Divide ground beef into 2 oz portions.  Roll each portion into a ball.
  3. Place one ball at a time onto HOT grill (no grease on the grill) and press flat, until it is the size of your hamburger bun.  I use the bottom of a frying pan to press flat.  Immediately sprinkle with salt.
  4. Wait 1-2 minutes and then flip.  You’ll need a metal spatula to scrap all of the meat goodness off of the grill.  Add cheese to the cooked side of the burger, if you so desire.
  5. Once cooked though (this will not take long!), place burgers onto prepared buns.  I prefer 2 patties on my burger.  Nathan likes 3.

Smashburger

I hope you have a Happy–and delicious–Fourth of July weekend!  I know we will be!

Peace out.

Things I Make Regularly: Granola

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Cereal selection is sorely lacking in our little corner of the world.  Here in Nabire, we usually have three choices: Corn Flakes, Honey Gold Corn Flakes or some kinda of Coco Pop/Krispie.  We miss cereal.  We dream about cereal.  We take pictures of the cereal aisle when we are in America.  Cereal is a beautiful thing.

I’ve done a lot of experimenting with granola since we can get oatmeal.  There are a whole lot of granola recipes out there if you’re looking, but in my experience there are some real winners and some real losers.  Here are three recipes that we keep coming back to:

Basic Granola (recipe from the amazing Carolyn Crockett)

12 cup oatmeal
2 cup white sugar
2 cup brown sugar (I use palm sugar)
2 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cup flour
2 cup oil (I use coconut oil)
2 cup water
2 Tb Cinnamon

Mix it all together.  Bake on low (325) for 1.5 hours, stirring once or twice.

This recipe is awesome because you can add/subtract what you want.  Don’t want that much sugar?  Reduce it!  Want to add raisins or nuts?  Go for it!  (Add raisins after the granola is baked…baked raisins aren’t so great.)
Yummy Granola (recipe from the awesome Karin Allrich)

3 cup shredded coconut
4 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar (or palm)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 oil
3/4 water

Mix it all together.  Bake @ 350 for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.

This granola looks kinda like cookie dough when you’re mixing it together and it’s delicious!  And similar to the first one, you can modify it as needed.

 

Maple Pecan Granola (recipe from the internet somewhere)

2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup maple syrup (I actually used pancake syrup)
1/4 cup brown sugar (or palm)
2 Tbs coconut oil
1/8 tsp salt

Mix it all together.  Bake @300 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Oh. My. Goodness.  This is my favorite granola at the moment.  It’s amazingly delicious.  In fact, the first time I made it, I followed the recipe as above, tasted it when it was done, and quickly mixed up some more because I knew it wasn’t going to last long in my house.  A. Mazing.

 

So, yes, all of these granola recipes contain sugar.  But the awesome thing about granola is that it’s super versatile.  You can substitute honey, real maple syrup or agave syrup, or whatever your sweetener preference is.  I’ve also added ground flax seed, nuts, seeds…whatever you want!  Experiment and discover your own favorite granola recipe.

Things I Make Regularly: Other

I didn’t know how to categorize these recipes, so I’m just putting them in a generic “other” category.  A cookbook writer, I am not.  :)

These three things are things I had never made before moving overseas.  And, my goodness, I was missing out.  I told you before and I’ll tell you again, cooking from scratch is dangerous…you may never go store-bought again!

Ranch

Ranch Dressing

For the first several years we lived here, I brought ranch packets and made my dressing that way (because every good American has ranch in their fridge, amIright?).  But then my mother-in-law introduced me to this homemade ranch and I’ve haven’t bought a ranch packet since.  Even when we were in the U.S. a few months ago, I made this from scratch.  It is totally worth the extra effort!

Ingredients:

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk (for my overseas friends, you can either bring buttermilk powder from the U.S. or order it on Vitacost, or you can substitute with regular milk mixed with a little vinegar)
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp minced parsley (or 1 Tbsp dried)
2 Tbsp minced chives (or 1 Tbsp dried)
2 Tbsp minced green onion or scallion
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Mix together all ingredients.  Enjoy!  (This should be stored in the refrigerator.  The original recipe says it will last for 3 days, but I’ve kept it in there longer than that…that is if you have any left after taking ranch shots because it’s that delicious)

Chicken Broth

Crockpot Chicken Broth

This is another one of those things that I put off learning to make for years.  And I really don’t know why because it is SUPER easy and bone broth has some great health benefits that you don’t get from bouillon.

Ingredients:

Chicken bones (I usually roast a whole chicken and then use the bones after we’ve eaten all the meat)
1-2 carrots, cut into large chunks
1 medium onion, quartered (I used green onion in the picture because that’s what I had, but any onion will do)
2 cloves garlic (I don’t even peel them)
2 sticks of celery, chopped (I use celery seed for the flavor since we can’t get celery easily)
1 bay leaf
Water
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.Place chicken bones into crockpot, along with carrots, onion, garlic, celery, and bay leaf.  Add enough water to fill crockpot.  Cook on low for 8-12 hours.
2. Drain, reserving liquid.  (You could eat the veggies at this point if you so desire)  Add salt and pepper to liquid, mixing well.  Pour into gravy separator (you can skip this part if you don’t have a separator, the fat will rise to the top and you can scoop it out with a spoon later) and then pour into jar for storage.  I keep at least one jar in my fridge and the rest go into the freezer for later use.

Yogurt

Yogurt

I definitely never imagined making yogurt from scratch…because who does that?  Missionaries, that’s who. :)  Homemade yogurt is super yummy and doesn’t have all the preservatives that store bought yogurt has.  And, guess what?!  It is also super easy to make (especially if you have an amazing husband that buys you a Yogourmet, but that’s definitely not required).

Ingredients:

4 cups hot water (110* F)
2 cups full cream powdered milk (I have never made this with fresh milk…I suppose you could if you heated it to 110*F)
Yogurt starter (there are many places to buy yogurt starters…but the easiest thing to do is to ask your neighbor for a little bit of yogurt to use as a starter.  Once you have made a batch of your own yogurt, freeze a small portion to use the next time.  But this does always leave me wondering how yogurt ever came to be without a starter.  Where did the starter start?)

Optional:

sugar, honey or other sweetener if you prefer your yogurt to be sweet
vanilla extract, because yum.

Directions:

1. Mix together all ingredients (including sugar/honey, etc.)
2. Pour into Yogourmet and leave it alone until it reaches desired thickness (about 4 hours for me).  If you do not have a Yogurt maker, you can also put the mixture into jars and then keep the jars warm in a water bath (but you’ll have to keep changing the water).  Some friends have also make the water bath in an insulated ice box to help keep the water warm longer.
3.  Once it’s reached your desired thickness, place in fridge to cool.

 

Get out there and get cooking from scratch!  You won’t regret it (and neither will your tastebuds!)

Things I Make Regularly: Mixes

Truth be told, I probably won’t make most of these mixes if/when we live in America again because store bought ones are so convenient and still pretty tasty.  But here, where such things are only occasionally available (never in Nabire) and cost a pretty penny, I make my own.

The two I almost always have on hand are muffin mix and pancake/waffle mix.  I love muffins.  True story.  And we have breakfast for dinner every Sunday night, so the pancake/waffle mix gets used weekly!

Muffin Mix

(I haven’t gotten around to labeling the Pancake Mix container yet…)

Muffin Mix
12 cups flour
4 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cup sugar
Plain muffins:
2 3/4 cups mix
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil (I have substituted oil with bananas or applesauce)
Bake 15-18 min at 400*
Optional Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
Cut the butter into the flour/brown sugar mix.  Pour half of muffin mix into half of muffin cups.  Sprinkle half of the streusel, then cover with the rest of the muffin mix, and finally top with the rest of the streusel.
Blueberry Muffins:
2 3/4 cups of muffin mix
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 cup blueberries
1 tsp vanilla
Bake 15-18 min at 400*
Pancake/Waffle Mix
8 cups of unbleached flour
2 cups nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 Tbsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
To Make Pancakes:
2 cups mix
1 3/4 cups of water or milk
1 egg
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
To Make Waffles:
2 1/2 cups of mix
2 cups of water
3 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
This last one, I probably will still make in the U.S. because you just can’t buy it’s equal!
Breaded and Fried Mix
Mega Mix for All Things Breaded and Fried
oil for frying

2 cups flour
4 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
2 eggs
1 cup milk

1.  Heat oil to 375 F.
2. Combine dry ingredients.
3. Whisk together milk and eggs.
4.  Cut [chicken, avocado, onion petals*, zucchini…whatever you want!] into strips.  Dip each piece into flour mixture, then egg/milk mixture and then flour mixture again.
5.  Once all of the  [chicken, avocado, onion petals*, zucchini…whatever you want!]  is coated, place pieces into oil one by one.  Fry until golden brown, 5-6 minutes flipping once.

*For onion petals, I first soak the onion pieces in buttermilk (or milk and vinegar) for about 30 minutes.

I haven’t tried baking these yet, but I may try that someday for a healthier option!

Happy Mixing!

Things I Make Regularly: Sauce Edition

Before moving to Indonesia, I thought I knew how to cook.  But basically what I knew was how to heat things up.  Moving overseas; where there are no frozen pre-made meals available, not many jarred sauces, and very few shortcuts when it comes to cooking; has been my crash course in cooking from scratch.  There have been many misses along the way, but these are a few of the tried and true recipes that I make regularly, Sauce Edition.

[Warning: I have found that cooking from scratch has ruined me for most store-bought pre-made food.  Food made from scratch tastes so much better!!  So, if you venture into the from-scratch type of cooking and you can’t stomach jarred sauce or store-bought dressing again, don’t say I didn’t warn you :) )

Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef or pork sausage (I usually leave this out and add meat later when I’m actually going to serve the sauce)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 lbs tomatoes, quartered (or maybe smaller depending on the size of the tomatoes)
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups water (or beef broth)
Instructions
  1. In a dutch oven cook meat (or cook veggies in olive oil if not included meat), onion, green pepper, and garlic till meat is browned and vegetables are tender. Drain off fat.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, oregano, salt, basil, thyme, and bay leaf.
  3. Stir in the water or beef broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 ½ to 2 hours or till sauce is of desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. Serve over hot cooked spaghetti.

Roasted Tomato Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds Roma tomatoes, or other ripe tomato
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil minced
  • ¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut each Roma tomato in half the long way. Then cut them in half from top to bottom.
  3. In a large bowl place tomato halves, diced onion, garlic, oregano, basil, pepper flakes, salt and oil. Toss to combine then pour out onto a sheet pan. Arrange tomato halves cut side up and roast uncovered for one hour. Remove from oven, flip tomatoes and roast for 30 more minutes.
  4. (Note: different tomato varieties have different water content. The above step should be monitored. You are looking for a good deal of the water content to evaporate but not burn the tomatoes)
  5. Using a food processor, puree the tomato/onion mixture.
  6. To the pureed tomatoes, add the tomato paste, agave nectar, onion powder, butter and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and adjust seasoning. Use on your favorite pizza or freeze in small plastic bags for later use.

Jarred

On the left and middle: spaghetti sauce.  On the right, pizza sauce.

Both of these sauces can be frozen and saved for later.

Sleeping for Doughnuts

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this chart a few weeks ago.  I’ve been trying to encourage Elias to stay in his room during nap time and at night, and apparently the key to success is stickers and doughnuts!  If he earns 8 stickers in a week, we make homemade doughnuts for breakfast on Saturday.  We’ve been doing this for three weeks now, and we’ve made doughnuts twice.

Sleep Chart I cannot resist fried dough.  This system is quickly going to wreak havoc on my waistline, but for now it’s working, so we’ll still with it for a little bit longer.  Sleep is a wonderful thing :)

Doughnuts

I always make cake doughnuts because they are SO much quicker and easier!  I found this recipe on the internet some time ago and it’s been my go-to doughnut recipe ever since.

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 t cinnamon
2 Tbsp melted butter (I use coconut oil instead)
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten

Oil, for frying

  1. Heat oil to 375F.
  2. In large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Mix in butter until crumbly.  Store in milk and egg until smooth.  Knead lightly, then turn out on a floured surface.  Roll or pat into 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut with doughnut cutter.
  3. Drop doughnuts into oil a few at a time.  Fry, turning once until golden brown.  Drain on rack.

You can eat them plain, or mix up a little glaze with powdered sugar and water.  Or just dip them in granulated sugar when they are warm.  All options are delicious.  And seriously, there is not much better than a warm doughnut on Saturday morning.  Except maybe a sweet little two-year-old who has stayed in his bed all week!

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Creamer

This one goes out to Randy Robertson of the Vancouver Robertsons.

We just had a whole group of visitors over the weekend (including Sir Robertson).  In preparation for our visitors (aka coffee lovers) I made homemade Cinnamon Roll Coffee Creamer.  Randy said, “you should put it on the blog.”  So…here I am, putting it on the blog!

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Homemade Cinnamon Roll Coffee Creamer

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more if you want more cinnamon flavor)
1 tsp vanilla extract
salt (yup, salt) to taste

Blend all ingredients together until sugar dissolves.  Store in empty Prego jar (or any other jar you might have lying around).

There are no store-bought coffee creamers available in these parts, so we have to get creative.  Plus, homemade means it leaves out all the junk that isn’t good for you anyway.  (because heavy cream is super healthy…let’s just pretend, ok?)

Enjoy!

 

Strawberries and Cheese

Facebook knows that I live in Indonesia, because, well, I told it that I do. So now I get fun Indonesian ads. This one popped up in my feed the other day, so I thought I’d share it with you.

It’s a super special recipe for a strawberry and cheese sandwich.
Roti-keju-stroberiThe recipe calls for bread (obviously), blue band (which is like oily margarine. We use it as a shortening replacement…if we’re desperate), strawberries (where are they finding these strawberries???) and cheddar cheese. Sounds delicious?

Totes Delish Oatmeal Cookies

I was feeling “bakey” last night and so I whipped these totes delish oatmeal cookies up.  I don’t get bakey all that often, probably because I don’t really have anyone to bake for.  Nathan doesn’t liked baked goods.  Weird, right?  So, if I do bake, it’s for myself, and I really don’t need to be eating a whole batch of cookies alone!  These cookies though, are oatmeal.  So they are healthy.  At least that’s what I tell myself.  Just forget about all the butter and sugar and focus on the oatmeal.  Healthy, healthy, healthy.

This recipe hails from my childhood.  My Grandma Tjernlund used to make them and I love them.  Nothing like oatmeal-laced memories!

Grandma Tjernlund’s Oatmeal Cookies

3 1/2 sticks of butter/margarine
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
3 cups quick oatmeal
2 teaspoons vanilla
powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cream together butter and sugar.
3. Add flour, oatmeal and vanilla.  Beat until well mixed.
4. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
6. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm.

Enjoy!

P.S.-if you’re a long-time reader and this seems vaguely familiar, you’re right!  I shared this recipe three years ago.  BUT they are so yummy, they deserve another day in the sun.